Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring

Hiring is a risky proposition. As a small company, you must focus on your core business and can’t spend all your time searching for the right employees; however, the wrong hires can be quite costly, including lost productivity, and higher recruitment and training costs, not to mention the impact on morale. So, it’s critical to get this very important task right!  You can start by putting a solid hiring process in place and avoiding these 10 mistakes:

1.  Not being clear about what you need

A surefire way to hire the wrong candidate is to be vague or unclear about what the job requires.  Identify the specific outcomes you are looking for the position to achieve, and the specific skills needed to achieve those outcomes. And, when someone leaves your company and you intend to backfill a position, take the opportunity to review current needs, since positions can evolve over time.

2.  Only focusing on skill

This is simple: skills, for the most part, can be taught. Sure, some people learn more quickly than others, but hiring someone who does not fit into the culture/work environment just because they have a slightly more impressive resume and skillset can have a negative impact on others and ultimately your company and its performance.

3.  Not seeing potential

Foresight is key, and even though you shouldn’t hire people who are unqualified, you should give weight to intangibles and motivation when making hiring decisions. This is another example of what to look for beyond the concrete skills someone possesses. Factor volunteer experience, learning agility, attitude, and career aspirations, as well.

4.  Not checking references  

Hiring isn’t a scientific process, but a good clue as to how a candidate will perform is through references. It can be time-consuming to speak with references, but it’s an important step to understand your candidate’s background and personality. Don’t overlook insight into your candidate’s past because it’s the best predictor of the future. And, don’t forget about “back-door references.”

5.  Not phone screening

Failing to conduct a phone screen before an in-person interview can cost you a lot of time. This is an opportunity to ensure that your candidate meets the basic qualifications of the position, communicates well, and that the salary that you are offering aligns with your candidate’s expectations.

6.  Hiring the best that comes along

Key to your company’s success is retaining the best employees. One way to keep them happy is to not settle for mediocrity when hiring. A string of bad or average hires will water down not only the productivity of the company, but also the culture. It can be tempting to hire to get a person in a seat; however, it’s much better to be patient and find the “right” person.

7.  Low ball offer

It’s important to know the market value of your positions, and it’s even more important to recognize that candidates know their value. Making a lowball offer to a candidate is basically saying, “we don’t value your skills and experience.” And, instead of inviting negotiation, it’s likely to backfire and insult the candidate, sending them seeking employment elsewhere. But not before they share their experience, which can negatively impact your ability to attract top talent.

8.  Forgetting about referrals

You have a large pool of potential applicants and candidates that you may be forgetting — the friends and past associates and schoolmates of your current employees. Utilize your staff as in-house recruiters and encourage them to reach out to their acquaintances. Referrals are consistently rated as the best hiring source, achieving greater performance and productivity in shorter periods of time.

9.  Not involving others in the hiring process

Your opinion should not be the only one that factors into the decision to hire a candidate. Have other employees talk with candidates, and make sure to confer with those who will directly work with the hire. Having more people involved in the interview process can provide you with a broader perspective and more insight into the candidate and also reduce potential biases.

10.  Moving too slowly

While patience is a virtue and you don’t want to jump the gun, and hire the wrong person, taking too much time to make a hire is also not acceptable. The onus is on your staff to pick up the slack when a position remains vacant, so you owe it to them to actively seek out candidates. If you are apathetic about filling the position, it will become an increasing headache for you and your staff.

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